Tuesday , April 13 2021
MC Lively: Lack of fulfillment in Law got me into comedy

MC Lively: Lack of fulfillment in Law got me into comedy

For rising comic act, Michael Sani Amanesi aka MC Lively, quitting Law for comedy did not come as a difficult decision after enduring life as a lawyer who earned pittance as income. The Edo State born comedian cum actor speaks with ADENIYI ADEWOYIN on comedy and Law, among other issues.


Your skits revolve around a frustrated lawyer. Is it borne out of your reality?

Yes, it is. But my real life story is not nearly as bad as Barrister Mike’s own. Barrister Mike’s own is much more exaggerated. It stems from when I just finished Law School and I was serving in Ibadan, I was a brilliant student and, of course, I had the tendency to be a brilliant lawyer, but I didn’t find fulfillment in Law. It started from the day we finished the Bar finals. When we finished, I didn’t feel complete. I felt like this is not how I am supposed to feel when I finish such a great course. Then the result came out and everybody was jubilating and I saw the result and I was like so what?

A few months later, I was serving in Ibadan and they had us do this Law thing where we do research and go to court. But the courts were so boring for me that I literally thought that if I did that for a few more years I was going to die in a courtroom.

Before I found the chamber I worked with, I would go round law firms in Mokola, Ibadan looking for work. The ones I went to, most of them said they didn’t have money to pay. But then I told them if I had told them at Law School that I didn’t have money, would they have accepted me? So basically, I went round Ibadan before I got a chamber that was paying me N5,000 per month in 2017.

At that time, lawyers with five years post score were earning N25,000 per month while the head of chamber was earning N50,000 per month. So even if I was working, was I not still jobless? So what I portray in my character is not only me; what I portray is a lot of Nigerian youths who have gone to school, graduated and have found jobs but still feel like they are jobless because they are not earning as nearly enough as they should. What most people do now is after getting a job, they start searching for other things that they need to sustain themselves. In truth, almost every Nigerian graduate is constantly on the search for a job. Think about it, there is no Nigerian graduate you see, no matter where you see them, they are still looking for one application to make or they want to travel out. Everybody is on a job hunt.

So are you categorically saying that boredom in legal practice or the poor pay made you opt out?

The boredom is what made me choose comedy over Law, because ordinarily I like Law. Even when I was in school, I really enjoyed studying Law and I wanted to see where that was going to take me. At some point, I was thinking maybe I would combine both but there was no fulfillment in Law. That is why I chose comedy. But the job search is constant for anybody who is in the public sector, and that’s where the character steps in.

How did you transit to comedy from Law or have you always been the funny guy?

MC lively
MC lively

I’ve not always been the funny guy but I was always around funny people while growing up. So I am very attracted to funny people. Most of my friends are funny, and I am the least funny. There was something that was striking about comedy for me; there is this feeling it has when you make people laugh. It seems like you can influence people no matter how sad or happy, rich or poor a person is.

I was always around people who were good at banter and most of them went to Obafemi Awolowo University, a school that is obviously known for banter. So at a very young age, I learnt the act of banter from my elder ones and I really loved it. I never felt like I could do comedy until that NYSC period when I was trying various things and thank God for the internet. It started with comedy skits but I didn’t really feel like I was telling my story. So one day, I asked myself who am I? What makes me different from others? I am a lawyer, how can I tell a story of being a barrister? Firstly, I wore my wig and did a skit and I watched that skit and said if I post this skit there would be trouble. Then I remembered we used to wear white and black in class so I took my white and black and that bag, did my thing and the rest is history.

When did you realise you’ve hit a goldmine?

I didn’t know I was a star until very recently, because from the start of my career, I’ve always been concerned about growth. My content actually went viral by the third skit I did with my white and black which Tunde Ednut posted, and that was when I knew that people loved what I’m doing.

What was your parent’s reaction to your decision?

My dad is a very cool guy. He has been working in civil service since the 80s. I am greatly influenced by my parents as regards my comedy. My parents are extremely funny though they don’t seem like it but they are. My dad has always complained about the salary saying he has been taking out loans since the 90s. My Law school, it was a loan he collected. And he has always said that his job is to send us to university and whatever we do after that is our own business. When your parents are not exactly rich, it’s easier for you to do anything you want because they can’t hold you and oh we won’t do this for you. My mother on the other hand didn’t take it easy at all but she later got to understand.

What is your shooting schedule like?

The shooting is a very tedious one because we shoot like five videos in a day but it’s not only my own production that I shoot. Sometimes it’s for other people’s movies, sometimes it’s for music videos. It’s a lot of work.

In the absence of social media, how would you have fared as a comedian?

I will answer that question with a quote that says “if you drop me on any planet where I know no one, give me some time, I will become a billionaire”. So it is what you have up there that matters. The platforms are just there to broadcast what you can do. In truth, my best quality is not in acting; my best quality is in stand-up comedy. So I don’t worry about whether Instagram will crash because that’s just a platform.

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